A resolution passed on Saturday at the Democratic National Convention embracing the non-religious while rejecting the religious as hypocrites who do not share the party’s values. This rejection of religious voters has been brewing in the party for several years, growing alongside an anti-Israel platform, but anti-religionism recently blossomed after being given a voice by the “Squad” of freshmen congressmen.
Omar’s Anti-Religion Speech in Congress
The catalysts for the party shift towards anti-Israelism were public comments made by Democrat freshmen congressmen like Ilhan Omar’s’ “It’s all about the Benjamins” in February. Similarly, Omar, a Somali born Muslim, spearheaded the anti-religious shift in a speech on the House floor in May. In the speech attack the pro-life movement, she accused “religious fundamentalists of trying to manipulate state laws in order to impose their beliefs on an entire society. All with complete disregard for the voices and rights of American women.”
Judaism and Christianity differ on how they view abortion, both religions prohibit intentional abortion based on lifestyle considerations. Islam does not explicitly prohibit abortion and there is great variation within Muslim-majority countries as to which are legally accepted reasons for abortion.
“But because it is happening here with the support of the ultra-conservative and religious right, we call it religious freedom,” Omar said in congress.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) attacks conservative people of faith on the House floor, suggests that their concern for unborn babies is not genuine and they are hypocrites pic.twitter.com/XGiWwB51GV
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 23, 2019
Omar implied that the pro-life movement was hypocritical, claiming to be motivated by concern for children while remaining ambivalent to the plight of children on the Mexican border.
“This isn’t about religious morality or conviction because we’ve seen time and time again those that talk about their faith and want to push policies because of their faith are the ones caught with simply the hypocrisy of not living it out in their personal lives.”
DNC’s Anti-Religion Resolution
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) followed suit at their summer meeting in San Francisco on Saturday by passing a resolution highlighting “religiously unaffiliated” Americans as the “largest religious group within the Democratic Party.”
“[T]he religiously unaffiliated demographic represents the largest religious group within the Democratic Party, growing from 19% in 2007 to one in three today,” the resolution said. “… [T]he Democratic Party is an inclusive organization that recognizes that morals, values, and patriotism are not unique to any particular religion, and are not necessarily reliant on having a religious worldview at all.”
“Religiously unaffiliated Americans overwhelmingly share the Democratic Party’s values,” said the resolution, which called for “rational public policy based on sound science and universal humanistic values.”
The resolution also claimed the non-religious are persecuted in the U.S. due to their non-belief.
“The nonreligious have often been subjected to unfair bias and exclusion in American society,” the resolution claimed. “Particularly in the areas of politics and policymaking where assumptions of religiosity have long predominated.”
The resolution was not satisfied with promoting support from the unaffiliated but also criticized religious Americans in language that was a disturbing echo of Omar’s speech just a few months prior.
“WHEREAS, those most loudly claiming that morals, values, and patriotism must be defined by their particular religious views have used those religious views, with misplaced claims of ‘religious liberty,’ to justify public policy that has threatened the civil rights and liberties of many Americans, including but not limited to the LGBT community, women, and ethnic and religious/nonreligious minorities,” the resolution stated.
The Secular Coalition of America, an organization that lobbies on behalf of atheists, praised the move, saying it was the first time a major party “embraced American nonbelievers.”
Sarah Levin, director of governmental affairs for the Secular Coalition of America, praised it as a way “to ensure that policy is driven by science and evidence, not sectarian beliefs.”
“America was founded as a secular government charged with representing and protecting the freedoms of people of all faiths and none,” Levin added. “I am proud to see the Democratic Party take that to heart by bringing secular Americans into the fold.”
History of Religion Hatred in Party
The Democratic party’s problems with religion have been brewing for quite some time. In 2008, the DNC removed any mention of God in their platform. At the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina in 2012 at which Barack Obama was nominated as the party’s presidential candidate, the crowd booed a motion to return ‘God’ and a recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel to their platform. Despite a more vocal response from the opponents to the additions, the convention chairman declared the addition to be accepted by a two-thirds majority.
At the 2016 DNC that nominated Hillary Clinton, Rev. Cynthia Hale was heckled as she gave the opening prayer. As a reminder, that was also the convention that opened with a conspicuous absence of American flags and one of the attendees waving a large Palestinian flag. The only Stars and Stripes present at the convention were in the parking lot being burned along with Israeli flags.